Monday, March 4, 2013

Discovery Education

Have you ever heard of or used Discovery Education

I am very fortunate that my district has purchased the rights for all teachers and students to have access to this amazing site. 

On the surface Discovery Education appears to be a streaming site where one can stream videos for viewing.  At least this is what I believed for several years, however, I was completely wrong.  I have learned over the past year or so that Discovery ed has so much more to offer than just videos. 

There are images, ebooks, reading passages, interactive activities, virtual science labs, songs, audio clips, a world atlas, encyclopedia pages, and so much more.  I really can't name them all. 

One of my favorite aspects of Discovery ed is the portion dedicated specifically to elementary science.  In this section, all of the science materials are sorted by category: life science, earth science, and physical science.  I love the glossary aspect of this section.  For each science term, there is an animation, definition, short video clip, and image.  These really help students gain a firm understanding of the vocabulary words. 

I also really enjoy the activity builder portion of the site.  This portion allows the teacher to assign specific activities for students to complete.  Each student in my district also has a log in to Discovery Ed so once an assignment has been assigned by the teacher, it will appear on their student page.  For example, my scholars are currently doing research projects.  If I come across a video clip that might be beneficial for one of my students, I could assign that video to her to watch.  I could also assign activities to the whole class. 

What I like most about Discovery Education is that by using it I can take my students anywhere without leaving the classroom.  Many of my students have a very limited view of the world outside of their neighborhood, so teachers at my school have to help them make a lot of connections and provide them with experiences that they don't get with their families.  Discovery ed is a resource that allows me to provide them with the visuals that can help them make connections to what they are reading or what we are learning in science or social studies.  I am extremely grateful for this amazing site because of this.

This site has been a life saver for me at times and I always refer to it when I am creating my lesson plans to see if there are any materials that would fit what I'm teaching.  I can almost always find something that matches. 

I would like to add that I was not asked to do any kind of review for Discovery Education.  Last Friday, I went to a professional development on challenge based learning that was hosted by Discovery Ed.  (I will post about challenge based learning at a later date.).

After the training, I started to think about the various resources that I am fortunate to have access to. Discovery education is a site that I'm not sure that I could do without.

What are some resources that you could not do without?

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